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Checkmate (Nigerian TV series)

Checkmate is a Nigerian television serial that ran from 1991 to 1994, created by Amaka Isaac-Ene and sponsored by Lever Brothers Nigeria. [1][2][3][4][5][6] It starred Ego Nnamani, Francis Agu, and Richard Mofe Damijo[2][5][7] [5] [8] Set in Lagos, the story focuses on the Haatrope family, the enemies determined to destroy their business and legacy, and their friends and associates. Checkmate is seen in the show's opening credits, where a chess player's king is directly attacked by an opponent's pawn, making escape impossible. The character Ann Haatrope is loosely based on Queen Amina of Zaria.[9]

Created byAmaka Igwe
Country of originNigeria
Original language(s)English
Production company(s)Moving Movies
Original networkNTA



Ann Haatrope (Ego Nnamani, and briefly Yomi Davies) returns to Lagos from America with her brother Richie (Bob-Manuel Udokwu) to discover the family's engineering and infrastructure business, Haatrope Investment, is on the brink of collapse due to older brother Benny's (Francis Agu) incompetence caused by alcoholism and sloth. Benny is also violent towards his wife, the equally nefarious Tonye (Edyth-Jane Azu) who does not approve of her husband's siblings living under their roof, and is particularly horrid towards Nana Kofo (Ruth Osu), the elderly Ghanaian housekeeper who has served the family for years. With their father Richard Sr. critically ill back in America and Richie lacking experience, Ann is determined to restore the company's reputation and fight off competition from rivals, most notably the unscrupulous Segun Kadiri (Richard Mofe-Damijo) who bears a long-time grudge against the Haatropes as he blames them for his descent into poverty as a child following the death of his mother, and has sworn vengeance.

Ann's best friend, banker Ada Okereke (Mildred Iweka) is married to school teacher Nduka (Bimbo Manuel), but the couple face several problems including their class differences (Ada is the daughter of wealthy parents while Nduka is from a more humble background), Nduka's jealousy, and Ada's inability to conceive. Ada is later revealed to be an Osu which infuriates Nduka's mother (Obiageli Molube) who refuses to accept an 'untouchable' as her daughter-in-law, and is on a mission to break up the couple. Nkemji (Uche Mobuogwu), a naive rustic girl is brought into her son's home to be his new spouse but Nduka, who would later work for Haatrope Investment, has no interest in her as he loves his wife dearly. Nduka is also jealous of the friendship between his wife and her old boyfriend Kunle Ajayi (Paul Adams), a Haatrope Investment employee who has unrequited love for Ann.

The uncouth Chief Fuji (Kunle Bamtefa), a board member at Haatrope Investment and close friend of Segun, is head of a dysfunctional family which consists of numerous children and his two warring wives Mama Moji (Toun Oni) and Peace (Pauline Njoku). Fuji flaunts his status as a wealthy polygamist but shuns his financial responsibilities towards his offspring to the chagrin of his spouses and mistresses including the daughter of his machete-wielding tenant Alika (Victor Eze). The situation is not helped when Fuji marries Ireti (Shola Onayiga), a trainee caterer who comes under fire from the rest of the Fuji clan for her sophisticated cuisine which does not suit the family's simpler tastes. The hypocritical Fuji continues his womanising but remains a strict disciplinarian with his children who are forbidden from leaving the house without permission or dating.

Monday Edem (Zulu Adigwe, and later Norbert Young) is a Unilag professor notorious for luring his female students into bed in exchange for their graduation, but denies this when confronted. His long-suffering wife Eno (Tammy Abusi) continues to stand by him, but becomes increasingly frustrated. Their son Akpan (Tunde Euba), Richie's best friend since secondary school, is a student at the university who is also ashamed of his father's antics and tired of defending him. Akpan soon finds himself in the middle of a raging rivalry between the institution's two main secret cults after he shows interest in Remi (Yetunde Olorunfunmi), the reluctant girlfriend of hot-headed gang member Banky (Kevin Ushi). With both father and son facing the wrath of their enemies on campus, the Edem family's safety constantly comes under threat - his younger brother is stabbed, his sister nearly raped, and an altercation with Banky's gang nearly costs Akpan his eyesight. He later joins rival cult The Jets, and the arrival of a mystery relative believed to be the professor's secret daughter throws the Edems into further chaos.


  • Ego Nnamani (later credited as Ego Boyo) - Ann Haatrope #1
  • Yomi Davies - Ann Haatrope #2
  • Francis Agu - Benebo 'Benny' Haatrope
  • Bob-Manuel Udokwu - Richard 'Richie' Haatrope
  • Edyth-Jane Azu - Tonye Haatrope
  • Ruth Osu - Nana Kofo
  • Richard Mofe Damijo - Segun Kadiri
  • Mildred Iweka - Adaobi 'Ada' Okereke
  • Bimbo Manuel - Nduka Okereke
  • Obiageli Molobe - 'Mama Nduka' Okereke
  • Uche Mobuogwu - Nkemji Okereke
  • Kunle Bamtefa - Chief Fuji
  • Toun Oni - 'Mama Moji' Fuji
  • Pauline Njoku - Peace Fuji
  • Shola Onayiga - Ireti Fuji
  • Jude Orhorha - Rabiu Fuji
  • Gloriana Nwankwo - Jumoke Fuji
  • Zulu Adigwe - Monday Edem #1
  • Norbert Young - Monday Edem #2
  • Tammy Abusi - Eno Edem
  • Tunde Euba - Akpan Edem[4]
  • Paul Adams - Kunle Ajayi
  • Anne Njamanze - Temi Badmus
  • Binta Ayo Mogaji[10]


Checkmate has been hailed as part of the "golden age of television in Nigeria", prior to the Nollywood home-video boom of the mid-1990s.[1][5][11][12][13]

In 2001, nearly seven years after the serial ended, Checkmate became one of the few Nigerian shows to produce a spin-off - Fuji House of Commotion, which focused solely on Chief Fuji's dysfunctional family.


  1. ^ a b Emeagwali, Gloria (Spring 2004). "Editorial: Nigerian Film Industry". Central Connecticut State University. Africa Update Vol. XI, Issue 2. Retrieved 16 July 2014.
  2. ^ a b Almost 2 Decades after the end of Checkmate, Nigerian Superstar Richard Mofe Damijo returns to TV on Tinsel, Bella Najia; 24.06.2011 at 8:24 pm.
  3. ^ A Flashback On Nigeria TV Series and Soaps, 11 May 2013. Leadership, (Abuja) Nigeria. Hosted on (requires subscription or registration).
  4. ^ a b Trends in Nollywood: A Study of Selected Genres. By Ayakoroma, Barclays Foubiri
  5. ^ a b c d Nollywood kills Nigeria’s Television Drama. Vanguard Nigeria, June 12, 2011, 12:00 am.
  6. ^ "Amaka Igwe nee Isaac Nene". Archived from the original on 3 September 2014. Retrieved 13 July 2017.
  7. ^ Where Are They Now? 19 January 2001; P.M. News, (Lagos) Nigeria. Hosted on (requires subscription or registration).
  8. ^ See Adaora Nwandu: Amaka Igwe: THE MATRIARCH OF NOLLYWOOD. April 30, 2014;
  9. ^ Nigeria: Mourning a Legendary Screen Icon
  10. ^ Husseni, Shaibu (April 17, 2018). "Binta Ayo Mogaji: Sterling stage and screen actress Sambas on and off the turf". Guardian. Retrieved 2018-07-17.
  11. ^ How Nollywood is Killing Nigerian Television Archived April 10, 2016, at the Wayback Machine, by Uche Nworah
  12. ^ "How Nollywood is Killing Nigerian Television". Retrieved 13 July 2017.
  13. ^ "#ThrowBackThursday: Checkmate • Connect Nigeria". Retrieved 13 July 2017.

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